Bitcoin dipped on Wednesday morning in Asia to trade range-bound below US$26,300. Ether edged higher but failed to reclaim the US$1,600 mark. Other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies traded mixed in the past 24 hours, with Binance’s BNB token leading the winners. The Open Network’s (TON) Toncoin led the losers. U.S. stock futures were up during early morning trading in Asia after Wall Street recorded losses of over 1% on Tuesday. More key inflation data is expected Thursday as investors look out for signs of a U.S. recession and further interest rate hikes. Mega-cap tech giants including Amazon, Apple and Tesla led the Wall Street declines.

Bitcoin ‘firm within September trading range’

Bitcoin edged 0.28% lower to US$26,209.51 in the 24 hours to 07:40 a.m. in Hong Kong for a weekly loss of 3.70%, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell to US$26,090.71 on Tuesday evening. But it managed to stay above the US$26,000 support level maintained for the past 14 days.

With Bitcoin staying “firm within its September trading range,” blockchain analytics firm K33 Research wrote in an emailed note, “a narrowing trading range accompanied by a slow news cycle has provided traders with few reasons to participate actively in the market.”

The options pricing of Bitcoin derivatives on the CME market “shows a more positive longer term than short-term outlook but has become slightly more bearish in tandem with BTC’s price decline over the last week,” the K33 report added.

Ether was also trading flat. It edged up 0.33% to US$1,592.60 over the past 24 hours but lost 3.10% for the week. The token hit US$1,598.10 on Tuesday evening. But it failed to rise above the US$1,600 level it gave up on Sunday.

While Ether is trading near a 14-month low against Bitcoin (0.061 BTC per ETH), that trend could be about to change, K33 report.

“We reiterate our stance that rotating towards ETH is a sound play for the coming months, as futures-based ETFs can turn the trend. The first half of October will be pivotal in that regard, as the final deadlines for the ongoing futures ETH ETFs are coming up in this period,” wrote K33.

Most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies booked losses for the past 24 hours. The exceptions were Ether, Binance’s BNB and Tron’s TRX. Toncoin continued to lead the losses. It dropped 1.66% in the past 24 hours to US$2.12 for a weekly decline of 17.75%.

BNB, the native token of cryptocurrency exchange Binance Holdings Ltd, led the winners. The coin gained 1.06% to US$212.17, but it recorded a weekly loss of 2.30%. 

BNB’s daily rise coincided with the announcement Tuesday that Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, is collaborating with Japan’s largest banking group Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation to issue fiat-pegged stablecoins in 2024.

The total crypto market capitalization dipped 0.28% in the past 24 hours to US$1.04 trillion, while trading volume dropped 10.02% to US$22.56 billion.

Wall Street losses amid recession fears

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Image: Getty Images

U.S. stock futures were trading higher as of 09:40 a.m. in Hong Kong. The S&P 500 futures led the gains with a 0.21% increase. Wall Street closed lower Tuesday with all three major indexes booking losses of over 1%. The Nasdaq Composite led the losers with a 1.57% slide.

Major Asian stock indexes were mixed on Tuesday morning. China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng booked gains, while South Korea’s Kospi and Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped.

U.S. economic data released Tuesday raised fears of recession. The Consumer Confidence Index tracked by the Conference Board dropped to 103.0 in September, lower than the analysts’ expectation of 105.5.

The data showed that “consumers continued to be preoccupied with rising prices in general, and for groceries and gasoline in particular,” wrote Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board. 

“Consumers also expressed concerns about the political situation and higher interest rates,” Peterson said.

The Expectations Index, based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, declined to 73.7 in September from 83.3 in August. A reading below 80 signals a recession within the next year, according to the Conference Board.

“Consumers may be hearing more bad news about corporate earnings, while job openings are narrowing, and interest rates continue to rise — making big-ticket items more expensive,” wrote Peterson.

Meanwhile, new single-family home sales in the U.S. fell 8.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 675,000 in August, lower than the analysts’ projection of 698,000. The tight house supply, elevated prices and historically high mortgage rates contributed to the drop in home sales, according to Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve in September kept interest rates unchanged between 5.25% and 5.50%, the highest level since early 2001. But the central bank might need to make another 25-basis-point rate hike by the end of 2023, and keep the rates higher for longer, according to remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell last Wednesday.

The Fed meets on Nov. 1 to make its next decision on interest rates. The CME FedWatch Tool predicts a 82.5% chance of no interest rate hike in November, up from 81.5% on Tuesday. It also gives a 65.8% chance of another pause in December, up from 60.9% on Tuesday

On the corporation front, the U.S. online retail giant, Inc. was among the worst performers on Tuesday. Its share price closed 4.03% lower. The Federal Trade Commission and 17 states sued Amazon Tuesday, claiming the firm wields illegal monopoly power.

The share prices of technology giants Apple, Inc. and Tesla, Inc. also dropped 2.34% and 1.16 respectively on Tuesday.

Investors are now waiting for the U.S. second-quarter personal consumption expenditure price index (PCE) on Thursday, which will provide further insights into inflation.

Elsewhere, China’s monthly industrial profits in August surprisingly rose 17.2% from a year earlier, reversing a 6.7% annual decline in July. The industrial profit from January to August fell 11.7% from the same period last year. But the drop decelerated compared to a 15.5% slide in the first seven months of the year.

(Updates with equity section.)